Monday, August 22, 2011

For Relunctant Readers--"The World's Most Haunted Places"

Disembodied voices, ghoulish apparitions, and a death tunnel are just some of eerie subjects readers will encounter in Matt Chandler’s new children’s book, “The World’s Most Haunted Places.”
World's Most Haunted Places (Edge Books: The Ghost Files)
Chandler explores supernatural phenomena both here and abroad, including hauntings in the The Borley Rectory in Essex, England, The Amityville House in New York and The Stanley Hotel in Colorado, which inspired Stephen King’s horror novel, The Shining.

The 32-page work of non-fiction is part of “The Ghost Files” book series by Capstone Press, and geared toward children ages 9 through 12.

A professional journalist, Chandler is the associate editor of the Buffalo Law Journal, the legal reporter for its sister publication, Buffalo Business First.

Despite his extensive writing background, Chandler said that creating a children’s book was quite a different experience.  He explained that one of the more challenging aspects of writing in the genre was taking an intense and somewhat terrifying subject, like hauntings and evil spirits, and making it appropriate for children. While he wanted to include what he deemed “juicy stories,” he was careful not to cross any lines.

Nevertheless, Chandler credited children for their ability to handle and process information.  “Kids today are not typical anymore,” he said. “They are much smarter and so much more dialed in than in years past.”

Chandler also made sure to employ language that would challenge young minds. The more difficult terms are highlighted within his text and included in a glossary at the book’s end.

Capstone Press’ books are specifically designed to engage students that may not be interested in or proficient at reading, Chandler explained. Photographs and fact boxes that accompany the main text help to hold readers captive.

A stipulation Chandler set for himself when writing “The World’s Most Haunted Places” was to keep his personal beliefs regarding ghosts and the supernatural out of the book. “At the book’s end, it does not tell you if ghosts are real or fake,” he said. “That’s not the point. The point is to make children reason and think for themselves.”

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